A Little Uselessness
Even though it is not even advent, I can't resist recommending this link.
I should start off by saying that this book has provided me the most intriguing reading I've had in recent memory. It is the first time I have waded into the waters of serious literary criticism, and I really
did not know what to expect. The experience was refreshing and thought-provoking. He has an original and fascinating interpretation of the series of Alien movies that alone is worth the read.
Monsters From the Id traces the development of the horror genre. It starts with Frankenstein and works its way through to Aliens III. Jones makes a convincing case that the beginning and continued popularity of horror are due to psychological responses to sexual "liberation" and its consequences. The thesis of the book is encapsulated by the two quotes that make up the first page. The first is from the Book of James:
Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong
desire. Then the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when
sin is fully grown it too has a child, and the child is
The second is from the classic movie Forbidden Planet: "The
Krell forgot one thing, the monsters from the Id."
If I am reading correctly, his basic argument could be expressed as follows:
At first, I was skeptical, but Jones has me convinced. His thesis explains one aspect of most horror films that has puzzled many critics. Why do so many films associate the attack of the monsters with sex? Why is it so often the case that characters in films are attacked and killed during or right after sex? The implicit message sent is that sex is dangerous and that having sex will hurt or kill you. Yet one can hardly accuse the horror movie industry of prudishness. Would it not make sense for most writers and directors of these films to send the exact opposite message?
Jones is arguing that the writers and directors of these films can not see the connection between immorality and suffering because of their ideological commitment to the primacy of sexual license. Yet their subconscious makes the connection and so the connection is expressed in these books and films. These films then draw audiences because they are saying something true, even though neither the makers nor the audiences can explicitly acknowledge the truth expressed.
If you're unconvinced, I urge you to read the book for itself. It is well worth it simply for his discussion of the series of Alien films. You can find the book at Spence Publishing.